The National Catholic Review

I see from recent posts here that the "More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church" series of conferences (at Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and Fairfield University) is already getting some attention. The conferences, which will focus on LGBT lives in relation to Catholicism, will each take up a distinct aspect of the LGBT-Catholic relationship. (Disclosure: I am on the planning committee for the Fordham conference.) As I understand them, these conferences are intended to be occasions, in the spirit of academic freedom, for free and frank speech about sexual diversity as it impacts the lives of people in and related to the Catholic Church. In particular, the conferences are designed to welcome voices, insights, and questions that have perhaps not been as fully acknowledged in the official Catholic conversations to date.

No doubt some will be incredulous that such a conversation is even happening in the open, but no one has anything to fear from a patient and searching commitment to the pursuit of the truth, which these four institutions of higher education, and many others, so well protect and encourage. And respect within the Catholic tradition for the dignity of LGBT persons and their allies, and for their own diverse stories of their relationships to Catholicism, is hopefully a noncontroversial point. If all goes as planned, the conferences will be an enrichment to the Catholic conversation. I am grateful for the hope the conference series represents.

Tom Beaudoin

Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Comments

Julio Diaz | 3/24/2011 - 10:44am
Our ''conversations'' should lead us to conversion, to praise, revere and serve God and love others in sanctity and obedience, and thus to save our souls. You may keep on yawnnnnning! I prefer to be alert! Hope it's not too late when you wake up.
JIM MCCREA | 3/23/2011 - 7:53pm
Yawnnnnnnn -
Julio Diaz | 3/23/2011 - 4:46pm
Why don't we go back to Jesus' conversations with people from different ways of life? In those conversations Jesus led people to become aware of who they were, and more importantly, to know how much God the Father loved them. However, by knowing this God of love and through Him, they were all prompt to change their lives or livestyles. In John. 8:11, Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery, ''Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and FROM NOW ON DO NOT SIN AGAIN.'' I think we should emphasize much more on Jesus' words, ''Do not sin again'' in our Conversations with people/forces outside the Church.  It is true, Jesus does not condemn the woman, but He does asks her to change her lifestyle. When we have an encounter with Jesus, and have an honest conversation with Him, it doesn't matter who we are, or who we think we are. We are willing to live as He asks us to live. We will be joyfully willing to change our lifestyles as that woman in the Gospel surely did. We were created male and female. That's what God says in the Bible. That's what the Church teaches. That is what Jesus asks. Are we willing to live as He created us to live or are we going to choose our preferences?
Tom Maher | 3/23/2011 - 2:40pm
Abe (15)

The conference challenges the church authority to interpret and preach the Gospel on matters of faith and morals the same way that "enlightened" legislators, prosecutors,  political actitvists, certain Protestant bishops  and judges successful challenged and then actually imprisoned Pastor Green in Sweden for his interpretaion of the Bible and his preaching the Bible. 

The attempt is being made in western society to make religious doctrines accountable to superceding civil norms of "toletrance not commonly known or accepted in civil society.  This is anti-democratic rule of elites who do not respect invidual freedom of religion and speech.  When put to a vote such things a same-sex marriage fail in the United States even in liberal states as California during the 2008 election.  Yet elite groups insist that somehow sudenly in the 21st century a legal right ot same-sex marriage exists however the church opposes this idea.  This conference is a platform for elsitist and extreme politcal advocacy not compatiable with the teaching of the Catholic church or most Americans.  

ONLY TEH CATHOLIC CHURCH KNOWS WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.  Outside political pressure groups do not have the interest in or ability to present the authentic Gospel message of the Catholic church.  This confernce destructively challenges the church authentic Gospel message and the church's teaching authority by organizations and groups outside the church.  But religious liberty allows the church to declare its truth free of outside interferance.       
Vince Killoran | 3/23/2011 - 1:57pm
Wikipedia's like the first stop on a shopping trip: look, but don't buy.

And then there's the recent Supreme Court's SYDER V. PHELPS decision, involving the Westboro Baptist Church. . .

To Tom and all my other fellow ACLUers out there, we do need to distinguish between shutting down free speech and criticizing the content of someone's speech. I've noticed a tendency to meld the two together.  
Kang Dole | 3/23/2011 - 7:02am
Cool link, David, but, sorry: tl;dr.  I skimmed it, though, and I now see that I have totally misundesrtood what rights are all along, and that my words above, which were definitely not based in parody, were just as wrong as could be. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Kang Dole | 3/23/2011 - 2:17am
What do I think about the Green case? I think that its mention is little more than the introduction of a rdd herring. How is it connected to whether an academic forum is worthy of this much controversy?

What do I think about the author warned off by a Western Canadian university? I think that my previous comment, re: Green stands. I also think that unless you can be more specific and actually trot out some actual names, then your example is even less relevant than the Green one.

"But maybe you are one of those people that think government is all wise and knowing and therefore up to t?he task of ?censoring ?speech?? ??"

I'm not one of those people. With respect to the government of your church, you would appear to be, though.
Tom Maher | 3/23/2011 - 12:34am
Abe (15)

Don't you get the implication of the Ake Green case?  It ieffects all people for all times.  Loss of free speech for the sake of any cause is a serious loss for everyone. The point is that free speach does not play favorites and therrfore everyone benefits. 

So what do you think of the Ake Green ?

What is your opinion of Canada's "hate speech" laws?  One American author was going to speak ata univesity in western Canada wasinformed in writting by a college official that if she said such and such she may be proscuted for "hate speech" because someone might be offened by her ideas?  In America we call that a "chilling effect" on free speech where a law causes the speaker to hesitate to say something.  Like you could ?have to call your lawyer first rather than just speak you mind or have government official approve of the content of your ideas.  That can be a problem especially with new ideas.  This free speech thing can get real tricky.  How can you pre-approve an idea never heard before?? You would't want that especially at a unisersity.?.  But maybe you are one of those people that think government is all wise and knowing and therefore up to t?he task of ?censoring ?speech?? ??
Tom Maher | 3/22/2011 - 11:54pm
The case referanced above is the July 5, 2004 conviction of  Pestor Ake Green of Kalmar, Sweden who was sentence and imprisoned for one month in jail for the sermon he preached in his church on homosexuality.  His conviction was overturned was overturned in February , 2005 by a Goetha, Sweden appeal court.  Pastor Ake Green is now a historic case cited worldwide in the defence of free speech, freedom of religion and personal liberty.   His prosecutions alerts us all to the danger of over-zealous and one-sided social, religous and political movements.  Check out for yourself the many horrible implications of this case on individual liberties. 
Kang Dole | 3/22/2011 - 11:35pm
Gotta burn the village in order to save it, eh? Free speech is under attack, ergo we must get worked up over a forum for transgressive speech.

The "they're trying to restrict our right to restrict their rights" and "they're intolerant of our right to be intolerant" rhetorical strategy that gets trotted out too often.

Anonymous | 3/22/2011 - 7:57pm
First readingIsaiah 1:10,16-20 ©

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the command of our God,
you people of Gomorrah.
‘Wash, make yourselves clean.
Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.
Cease to do evil.
Learn to do good,
search for justice,
help the oppressed,
be just to the orphan,
plead for the widow.
‘Come now, let us talk this over,
says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
‘If you are willing to obey,
you shall eat the good things of the earth.
But if you persist in rebellion,
the sword shall eat you instead.’
Anne Danielson | 3/26/2011 - 3:31pm
If the psychology is not consistent with the biology, a disorder exists. The Catholic Church recognizes that homosexuality is a disordered sexual inclination. It is for this reason, that The Catholic Church recognizes those men and women who suffer from a homosexual inclination may not be fully responsible. The Catholic Church, out of Love and respect for all persons who, regardless of race or ethnicity, have been created equal as persons, while being complementary as male and female, teaches that we must never condone homosexual sexual acts, or any sexual act, that demeans the inherent dignity of the human person, and that all persons, including those who suffer from a homosexual inclination, are capable of learning to develop healthy and Holy relationships and friendships that are grounded in authentic Love.
(see CCC)

http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2011/03/youve-likely-seen-the-reports-and-headlines.html
John Flaherty | 3/26/2011 - 7:12am
Several thoughts come to mind:
1. I hear this "tradition of argument" mantra from a Jesuit school near me quite often.  It almost always means they wish to contradict the Church's actual teachings somehow.
2.  Hundreds of secular schools would (and do) happily discuss LGBT issues quite thoroughly.  Why are Catholic schools wasting their time?
3.  I have yet to see even one Catholic school make as much fuss out of chastity and/or decorum in heterosexual relationships as they do about LGBT issues.  Why do we care about LGBT issues in particular?  Which leads to...
4.  The Church teaches that homosexual acts are inherently disordered.  It's pretty darn black and white.  WHAT issues do LGBT individuals in particular have that require discussion?
Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

Granted, that doesn't make for great, er, relations, with the activist homosexual community.  Do I dare ask why we're so worried?
They don't appear terribly concerned about matters of orthodox faith....

Julio Diaz | 3/24/2011 - 8:37pm
Here's my first and last name. Blessings!
Bye now!
JIM MCCREA | 3/24/2011 - 6:20pm
Jim to Tim.  Jim to Tim:  what happened to the first and last name patrol?
John Barbieri | 3/24/2011 - 5:49pm
Another meaningless conference that nobody cares about.
Dale Rodrigue | 3/22/2011 - 6:22pm
It's messy but it's called ''free speech''.

We wouldn't need to have this discussion if the official church didn't shut down discussion by saying the matter is closed and not up for discussion. 
It allows all sides to present their views.  Some are afraid that it will subvert the teachings of the church.  Really? Why not let everyone determine for themselves if there is truth in any of the discussions.  Most people are sick and tired of having others attempt to think for them, on the ''left'' and the ''right''.  No one has a monopoly on the truth, only Jesus the Christ was all Truth.


''All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.''
Thomas Jefferson
Juan Lino | 3/22/2011 - 4:18pm
Thanks for the link to the article Maria.  Archbishop Tomasi is only affirming what I've already learned in experience - those who claim to be "tolerant" are usually the most "intolerant" of those who question their belief system.  

Look at what's happening with Apple again.  First the "tolerance police” petitioned Apple to remove the "Manhattan Declaration" App and now they are trying to remove the “Truth Wins Out” App.

Here's the link here:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gay-group-demands-apple-remove-ex-gay-app

Here's a brief description:

CUPERTINO, California, March 21, 2011 - An iPhone application designed to minister to individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction has come under a hail of criticism from gay activists who have called the program “hateful and bigoted.”
The app, created by international Christian ex-gay ministry Exodus International and available through Apple’s online iTunes store, received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it was found to contain no objectionable content. The app provides a gateway to the ministry’s news, blog, podcasts, and other social networking and resource materials.
 
Anonymous | 3/22/2011 - 2:21pm
Vatican tells U.N. that critics of gays under attack
Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:07pm GMT
 
GENEVA (Reuters) - People who criticise gay sexual relations for religious or moral reasons are increasingly being attacked and vilified for their views, a Vatican diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the Roman Catholic Church deeply believed that human sexuality was a gift reserved for married heterosexual couples. But those who express these views are faced with "a disturbing trend," he said.
"People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behaviour between people of the same sex," he told the current session of the Human Rights Council.

He failed to say that it is dissident Catholics at the head of the pack...

my.news.yahoo.com/vatican-tells-u-n-critics-gays-under-attack-20110322-102058-248.html
Juan Lino | 3/22/2011 - 2:15pm
I agree with you Abe.  The Purim celebrations in my neck of the woods were great -   What were you drinking?
Kang Dole | 3/22/2011 - 1:56pm
This conference has already been posted on (as you noted); nobody is going to say anything new or interesting in the comments. It's going to be the samo samo.  I'd bust out the In All Things drinking game, but I'm still kind of hungover from Purim.
Juan Lino | 3/22/2011 - 1:40pm
If the data outlined in the post “Who is funding the coordinated attempt to subvert the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage?” is accurate, then why should we listen to those who are actively trying to subvert the teachings of Christ?

Here is the link to the post: http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=15195

I extract this small part:

“In other words, almost $700,000 in the past few years to “Catholic” organizations and organizations tasked with changing Catholic beliefs.

These monetary grants above have a real impact
. Take for instance the $100,000 grant given to Fairfield University “to hold and disseminate information from a series of forums at four academic institutions in order to expand the current discussion on homosexuality within Roman Catholicism to include the diverse opinions of progressive Catholic thought leaders and theologians.” 

I haven't seen anyone saying that the data is false and so if silence equals consent then this is merely another trojan horse that needs to be unmasked.  After all, ERROR has no rights.
Mark Harden | 3/22/2011 - 12:58pm
From Mirror of Justice, on this meeting:

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2011/03/more-than-a-monologue.html

"I wonder if this is an accurate description of the program and the situation which its organizers describe. First of all, many of the currently advertised speakers are well known for their views on human sexuality and their criticism of or disagreement with Catholic teachings. I cannot see how they contend that “the sole voice being heard is that of the institutional Catholic Church.” Moreover, the modifier “institutional” in describing the Catholic Church is problematic. In the hope that there is more to this program than is currently advertised, I realize that there may be other speakers not listed on the web site who may very well explain the Church’s position on these neuralgic issues and why she teaches what she teaches. However, the diverse voices that are currently billed on the website are not really known for supporting the Church’s teachings on human sexuality, yet, as I have stated, their views and their works are well known and well publicized. It is a misrepresentation to imply that their voices are not heard on these critical issues since the only voice heard is that of “the institutional Catholic Church.”
"If the organizers of “More than a Monologue” intend on presenting more than a monologue, I look forward to hearing about who will be the speakers scheduled to explain with fidelity the “what” and the “why” of the Church’s teachings. As the program is currently structured, I do not see this being any part of their offer. If I may borrow from Clara Peller, where’s the debate? Is it conceivable that the sponsors are more interested in convincing the audiences that the Church’s teachings are wrong and their challenges are correct? If so, a monologue will suit the cause."
 
Anonymous | 3/22/2011 - 12:51pm
"The devil knows that you get nowhere alone; you inspire others to follow you. Then you train your followers and disciples and they will carry on your work. The devil trains his followers to seduce not just people or cities, but whole nations".
John Hardon SJ
Tom Maher | 3/22/2011 - 11:54am
This conference is a one-sided political forum promoting the political agendas and ideas of sub-culture political activists.  The conference and its promotion literature  is antagonistic toward the positions of the Catholic Church.  

Why should the Catholic Church be judged or instructred by religious and politcal organizations outside the Catholic Church with political ideas alien to the Catholic Church?    For example, what does the "non-denominational"  Yale Divinity School's conference presentation titled "Same-Sex Marriage and the Catholic Church ..." have to say that is valid on the authority of the Catholic Bishops to decide on matters of the Catholic faith?  . 

Is YDS seriously suggesting the Catholic Bishops must conform to outside  political pressure on the issue of same-sex marriage?  Didn't we do this once before in histroy over the marriage(s) of King Henry VIII ?  Did the church ever abandon or change its stand on marriage?  Marriage then and now is Gospel based as interpreted by the Cahtolic Bishops.   The Catholic Church is not a Protestant church that forms its faith practices based on the ideas of a local congregation or sub-groups no matter how influencial or politically powerful.  The Cahtolic Bishops abd only the Catholic Bishops decide Catholic morality,practice and teaching.  

The Yale Divinity School has no constructive role to play in matters of the Catholic Church.  Neither does the "non-denominational" Union Theological Seminary.  This conferences's politcal declarations are as intrusive as having a mother-in-law along on a wedding night.   Catholic church are none of either organizations business and their outside advice is not sought or welcomed. 

This conference has the destructive effect of attempting to divide  Catholics over Catholic Bishops control of the teachings of the Catholic Church.    
Anne Chapman | 3/22/2011 - 9:43am
Since the teaching authority of the church itself tends to be very over-focused on the sexual lives of its members, including the sexual lives of married, heterosexual couples, it is not surprising that this issue is also of concern to others in the church.  And perhaps if the hierarchy focused less on the sex lives of its members, and more on its own moral failures, such as in hiding crimes, thus permitting sexual predators to continue to prey on the young, they might earn the attention to them when they speak of other issues related to sexuality.  There is no agreement among scientists at this time that homosexuality is an "abnormality" as you conclusively judge it - it may simply be a normal variation from the majority, and biologically based.  You don't know for sure, nor do I, nor does anyone.  Until the origins of homosexuality can be clearly identified and defined, those who seek truth must try to subdue their own preconceptions and prejudices and listen with an open mind.  Those who don't, are not really seekers of the truth, but merely wish to have their own ideas validated by supressing all discussion.

As far as discussions of the issues that impact homosexuals are concerned, it seems that homosexuals may find these discussions and issues to be as important as the discussions regarding civil rights were to racial minorities, or as important as the controversies and divisions that took place when women sought their own rights, such as the right to vote, to own property, even to divorce. 

Those who live in the comfortable majority, who enjoy all the rights and freedoms and privileges of being in that comfortable majority - middle-class, heterosexual white males, for example - are morally obliged to make an extra effort to try to look through the eyes of the other, to try to imagine life on the fringes, scorned and denied rights due to physical chacteristics.  It is not yet 100% known if homosexuality is biologically based, just as race is due to biology.  Until that is known (and science seems to be headed to that conclusion), perhaps it is not a bad thing to explore the impact of denial of civil rights to gays, just as society was forced to do with women and racial minorities in earlier eras.  Even if it turns out to be pscyhologically based in events of early childhood, an open mind is needed - because that still does not mean that expressing one's love in a committed relationship with a loved partner is "sinful."
Tom Maher | 3/22/2011 - 10:41pm
Both free speech and freedom of religion have been have been under attack in the last decade.  It is about time the official church woke up about these attacks in wesstern Europe and Canada.

Nations such as Sweden, Britian and Canada and others have enacted "hate speech laws" specifically designed to suppress free speech and in the process suppress the free expression in religion.   This is a modern day scandal to the civilized world rivealing the Iquisiton in the desire to censor, suppress and punish individuals for free speech.  These "hate speech" laws in advance western nations make government the constant monitor of everything that is said least someone somewhere will take offense.

In February, 2004 in Pentecostal Pastor in Sweden was sentenced to one month in jail for preaching a sermon in his church against homosexuality and spent a month in jail.  This is a outrage against free speech that is happening in many countires and a disgrace.

A year later according to an AP report of 2/11/2005 a Swedish appeal court overturned his conviction citing what is perfectly obvious and expected "... it was not illegal to offer personal interpretation of the Bible and urge others to follow it."

Amazingly a Bishop of other Protestant church would not defend his free speech or freedom of religon becasue they did not like his theology as if that should matter.

"hate speech" prsecution of speakers fortuanelty is not allowed in America though many would like to try.  The American Revolution was fought to allow free expression of ideas, criticisms and greivances.  Attempts to suppress crticisms of political activist including homosexual political activist is a very unwise and primitive especially when religous organizations themselves encourage these attacks on personal liberties.